Tips for Camping in the Rain and Wet Weather

When we dream of a camping trip, we like to think of sunny skies, gentle breezes and, of course - no rain!

Unfortunately - especially in the UK - this is often not the case!

However, there is no reason why you shouldn’t go camping in the rain. While you will need to approach your trip a little differently to make sure you stay safe, you can still have plenty of fun.

Read our guide for our tips on how to camp in the rain and what you need to take with you to ensure the fun isn’t dampened on your trip!

How to Camp in the Rain...

1. Take a Waterproof Tent

Surely this is common sense! A waterproof tent is essential for making sure your camping trip is as comfortable as possible in the rain.

If you have a polycotton tent, make sure you weather it before you go. You can do this by leaving it out in the rain or spraying it with a hose, then leaving it to dry out. This process ensures the threads in the seams are fully expanded to keep rain out when you need to camp inside it.

Polycotton tents offer good waterproof protection in the rain, plus have the added benefit of being more breathable. Tents get wet inside when condensation forms from within and there isn’t enough ventilation for it to get out. This is reduced by polycotton fabric.

Read more: Polycotton Tents Buying Guide

2. Check Your Tent’s Waterproofing

If you bought your waterproof tent a few years ago, it might be a good idea to refresh the waterproof layer. Tents are waterproof thanks to a membrane applied to them that doesn’t allow water droplets to get through. However, over time, this can wear away.

You can easily find tent waterproofing products to restore your tent to its former glory.

Read more: The Best Way to Waterproof a Tent

3. Use a Footprint or Groundsheet

Using a tent footprint or groundsheet is a good idea at any time of year, but particularly when it is wet outside!

Lay one down on the ground and pitch your tent on top of it to help keep your tent floor dry. It will also stop the bottom of your tent getting dirty from the muddy earth below.

You could also put one inside your tent for added protection - or use a piece of tarpaulin.

4. Create an Outdoor Shelter

You didn’t fight through the elements to be holed up inside your tent for your entire camping trip!

If your tent has a covered porch area, be sure to make full use of it. Alternatively, pack a waterproof camping gazebo or an awning, where you can shelter from the rain, without feeling hemmed in.

Rather than sit in a soggy tent, ward off cabin fever by setting up your camping chairs there for the day. It’s also a good place to leave dirty boots. You could even place a bit of tarpaulin down here to keep it clean.

Read more: Drive-Away Awning Buying Guide

5. Keep Air Vents Open to Prevent Tent Condensation

You’re certain you’ve waterproofed your tent to the highest standard - so why does your tent still get wet inside?

If this sounds familiar, you’ve probably fallen foul of tent condensation. As your body heat warms up the tent interior, moisture begins to condense inside your tent - even more likely when it’s raining.

If your tent has mesh ventilation panels, make sure you keep them open. If the rain eases off, air out your tent as much as you can.

6. Choose Your Pitch Wisely!

Setting up a tent in the rain can be difficult. The first thing you should do is make sure you set up camp somewhere sensible.

Don’t pitch up at the bottom of a hill or anywhere else puddles or floods might form. Somewhere with a little natural shelter is good - but beware of anything that might fall on you in high winds.

When setting up camp in the rain, try and keep the rain from getting inside your tent as much as possible - it will be hard to dry out if the elements persist. If you have space in the car, you could even take a gazebo to set up under.

Read more: How to Pitch a Tent Like a Pro

7. Use a Bivvy Bag

The last thing you want when camping in the rain is to get into a soggy sleeping bag!

A bivvy bag or sleeping bag liner is a great addition to pack when you're camping in the rain. Not only do they help you keep warm, but also offer a layer of protection from moisture, should you experience a leak in the night.

8. Protect Your Belongings With Dry Bags

Keeping your clothes and belongings dry will really pay off when you’re camping in the rain.

Buying a set of dry bags will come in really useful. Whether you use them to keep your outfits, pyjamas, electronics or even your snacks dry, investing in a few different sizes is a good call. This Regatta Dry Bay Set is the kind of thing you need.

9. Dress for the Occasion

Of course, you will need to dig out your waterproofs when you go camping in the rain. Certainly in winter and autumn but more than likely also in the summer, too!

A waterproof jacket or coat is often your first line of defence, though waterproof trousers and waterproof footwear are also essential. If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking or hiking, you might want to consider packing some gaiters too. Slip them on over your boots to keep the rain from dripping into your shoes,

Read more: The Best Waterproof Clothing for Men, Women and Kids

10. Dry Out When You Can

While it might seem impossible if you find yourself caught in a persisting downfall. Try not to leave wet clothes in your tent for too long. It’s best to air out any wet gear as soon as you can to get it as dry as possible.

If you have a shelter or porch area on your tent, this is a good place to leave clothes and shoes to dry. If you are camping around some trees, you could even set up a makeshift washing line with some rope - or take the Easy Camp Elastic Washing Line with you.

11. Bring Indoor Activities

While you can get out as much as you can, sometimes you may find yourself defeated by the rain on your camping trip! If your walk, hike or picnic gets rained off, make sure you take a few games, books or other things to do inside your tent.

You could also download a few films onto an iPad or laptop and snuggle up for a movie night.

12. Pack Away Carefully

When your camping trip comes to an end, you may be wondering how best to pack away your, now very wet, tent.

Take your inner tent down first and keep it separate so it stays dry. Then, shake as much water off the rest of it as much as possible. Ideally, you should wait for it to dry before packing it way, though this isn’t always possible.

If not, just make sure you take it out when you're back at home to allow it to dry thoroughly - either outside if it’s not still raining, or in a garage or even your shower.

Read more: How to Correctly Pack Away Your Tent Until Next Year

13. Head to the Pub!

If all else fails, and your camping party is beginning to flag, you can always find the nearest and cosiest pub to dry out in (the same goes if you come across a coffee shop, tea house or attraction!

And, if it starts to get too cold and shivers start setting in, it’s probably best to admit defeat and head home - there’s sure to be at least one dry weekend during British summertime!

Take a look at our full range of waterproof clothing and entire camping collection to stay dry including:

Portable Heaters | Tent Footprints & Groundsheets | Tent Awnings & Extensions | Gazebos & Shelters

Read more from the Winfields Blog to set you up for 2020...

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Don’t forget to take a look at our camping blog for more posts like these…

The Best UK Campsites To Stay At in 2020 | How to Prepare for your Next Camping Trip | What will Camping in 2020 Look Like?


  1. James Teppin
    I'll be honest, if it's not too cold I recommend shorts, especially in damp weather. Your legs can dry very quickly. Trousers tend to stay damp and often drag on wet grass. Waterproof trousers are ok in the winter, but not great in warm summer rain
    1. Deb Harvey
      I second this! Skin dries much more quickly than even lightweight walking trousers. I recommend rubber flip flops for around the campsite, for the same reason!
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